Even though Joe Biden said this earlier this week:
"Hey guys, I'm not the guy." It turns out he IS the guy.
Barack Obama made a good choice, and I'm not saying that just because I am a son of Delaware.
I first met Biden as an incoming freshman. Thousands of us were lined up at the University of Delaware fieldhouse and stadium, waiting to sign up for coveted classes. In the blazing sun, this guy in shirtsleeves and a tie comes down the line quickly shaking hands. I shook his and he moved on and thought "That guy sure looks young."
He was -- only 29, a former elected county official. And his wife, Neilia, so very attractive.
Within weeks he was elected as the youngest US Senator from Delaware. I cast my vote for him, certainly.
And, within weeks she was dead along with his daughter, Naomi. They were killed in a horrible car accident less than a mile from my parent's house (View Larger Map) at a dangerous intersection where a winding, two-lane country road joined a busy four-lane highway. Police at the scene said they knew the victims were members of the Biden family because of all the strewn campaign material found at the scene. His two sons, Beau and Hunter, survived the crash.
If you want a clear picture of Biden as a candidate and senator and flawed person, you won't get a better account than the chapters about him in the masterful What It Takes.
I next saw Biden a couple years later. He was speaking one night on campus at Mitchell Hall, a beautiful theatre. This was when it was still exciting and somewhat cool to go see a US senator speak. I went there with my friend Greg Leute; we sat in the balcony and Biden walked out onto the bare stage alone. And, without notes, he spoke---about the Vietnam War (what we were concerned about), and poverty and Nixon and trust and most importantly, public service. He was about 10 years older than us and that night he owned the venue. At precisely one hour into his talk as he finished, the alarm went off on his watch and everyone laughed. He had timed the talk perfectly.
Greg and I left the speech so inspired and moved. It was really something.